Teaching your son how to use the potty will require time and patience on your part, and a reasonable degree of cooperation and motivation from your son.
The key to potty training success is starting when your son is interested, willing, and physically able to. While some kids are ready as young as 18 months, others may not be prepared to learn until well past their third birthday. Some experts believe that boys are in diapers a bit longer than girls because they’re generally more active and may less likely to stop and take the time to use the potty.
There’s no point in trying to get a head start. When parents begin potty training too soon, the process is likely to take longer In other words, you’ll arrive at your destination at the same time, no matter when you start. So before you begin, you may want to see more general tips on how to start potty training and use our checklist to find out whether your son is ready or not.
Once you’ve determined that your son is ready to start, focus on timing. Stress or big life changes may make successful toilet training difficult.
Be sure your child’s routine is well established. If he’s just started preschool or has a new sibling, he may be less receptive to change or feel too overwhelmed to tackle this new challenge. Wait until he seems open to new ideas, so you can potty train successfully.
Prepare yourself for potty training by getting the scoop on these five common misconceptions. See all videos
Let him watch and learn
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Toddlers learn by imitation, and watching you use the bathroom is a natural first step. He may notice that Daddy uses the potty differently than Mommy does, which creates a great opportunity for you to explain the basic mechanics of how boys use the bathroom.
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When talking about body parts, it’s important to be anatomically precise. Teaching him to call his penis a “pee-pee” when every other body part has a name that doesn’t sound as silly may imply that his genitals are embarrassing.
Buy the right equipment
When your child is sitting on the potty, it’s important for him to be able to lean slightly forward with his feet on the ground, especially when he’s having a bowel movement. Most experts advise buying a child-size potty, which your toddler can claim for his own and which will also feel more secure to him than sitting on a full-size toilet. (Many toddlers are afraid of falling into the toilet, and their anxiety can interfere with potty training.)
If you prefer to buy an adapter seat for your regular toilet, make sure it’s comfortable and attaches securely. You’ll also need to give your son a stool because he needs to be able to get on and off the potty easily any time he needs to go and to stabilize himself with his feet.
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When buying a potty for your son, look for one without a urine guard (or a removable one). Although they may protect your bathroom from a little stray pee, more often they tend to bump into and scrape a boy’s penis when he sits down on the potty. This could make him to associate going to the bathroom with pain.
You may want to pick up a few picture books or videos for your son, which can make it easier for him to grasp all this new information. Everyone Poops, by Taro Gomi, is a perennial favorite, as is Uh, Oh! Gotta Go! and Once Upon a Potty, which even comes in a version with a doll and a miniature potty.